The Crown, which is based on the real-life events surrounding the British royal family, has been blowing people away on Netflix for years now. Season four officially started streaming on November 15, and it’s been one of the most controversial yet. It focuses on Queen Elizabeth II’s relationship with new female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (played by actress Gillian Anderson), the struggling relationship of Princess Diana and Prince Charles and his love affair with Camilla Parker Bowles (his current wife), Princess Diana’s battle with bulimia, Princess Anne’s marriage issues, and Princess Margaret’s changing role in the Royal Family.
But, given how popular (and awesome) The Crown is, it naturally raises a major q: Does the Royal Family watch the show and, if so, what do they think of it? The first answer is a resounding yes, while the second is more like "ehhh, it depends."
The real-life Royals totally watch The Crown—and they're mostly cool with it.
Two people, in particular, who are likely watching season four are Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. "She [Camilla] has watched it, of course she has, and I believe [Charles] has too," a friend of the royal told Vanity Fair. "I don’t think she has any real issue with it. Her feeling is very much 'never complain, never explain.'"
The source also confirmed that Camilla has watched previous seasons. "I imagine she’ll be tuning in with a glass of red wine to watch it, she has seen the previous series," the same friend told the publication. "She has a wonderful sense of humor and this won’t fuss her in the slightest."
The same article featured comments from royal biographer Sally Bedell Smith, who also shared that the show’s portrayal of Charles and Camilla’s relationship is largely *fictitious* and could be "uncomfortable viewing" for the future king and his wife.
The source also had tea on whether Queen Elizabeth II and her daughter, Princess Anne, tune in. "The Queen has no desire to watch herself in a fictitious TV program, while Anne has no time for such nonsense," they shared with Vanity Fair.
However, that doesn’t mean she’s never seen it. Apparently, the Queen has seen at least the entire first season. It’s all thanks to her youngest son, Prince Edward, and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, who allegedly organized Saturday night viewings for her.
"Edward and Sophie love The Crown," a senior royal source told the Sunday Express. "It has been a longstanding arrangement that they drive to Windsor at the weekend to join the Queen for an informal supper while watching TV or a film. They have a Netflix account and urged her to watch it with them. Happily, she really liked it, although obviously there were some depictions of events that she found too heavily dramatized."
But Queen Elizabeth stopped watching after season one.
When season two rolled around, she apparently wasn’t as into the show, given that her hubby, Prince Philip, was portrayed as being unsympathetic to their then-young son Prince Charles, who was miserable at boarding school.
"The queen realizes that many who watch The Crown take it as an accurate portrayal of the royal family and she cannot change that," a senior palace official told The Express. "But I can convey that she was upset by the way Prince Philip is depicted as being a father insensitive to his son’s well-being. She was particularly annoyed at a scene in which Philip has no sympathy for a plainly upset Charles while he is flying him home from Scotland. That simply did not happen."
The palace has officially weighed in on the show... and they weren't too happy.
In September 2019, palace officials actually released a statement to The Guardian making it clear that The Crown doesn’t have the royal stamp of approval. "We appreciate that readers of the Guardian may enjoy this fictionalized interpretation of historical events but they should do so knowing that the royal household is not complicit in interpretations made by the program," the statement said.
Watch The Crown cast break down Queen Elizabeth and Margaret Thatcher's relationship:
Still, that hasn't stopped other Royals from watching The Crown.
As for everyone else in the royal family, Princess Eugenie was overheard at a party saying that she loves the music and the storyline, while Zara Tindall told The Telegraph that she and her husband Mike Tindall watch the show.
"I need to catch up," Mike even said on his podcast this week, according to PEOPLE. "I actually saw the advert for it and I was like, 'Ooh, I need to catch up.' Because I only got about halfway through season three, so I started watching season three last night and then I'll catch up. But I've seen it all over the place, and on these popular midday TV shows."
He also added: "I'm quite intrigued to see where they go with it because obviously, it's an era people are fascinated with. It's getting to more things that people know about, isn't it, and have opinions about—so that's where it gets difficult."
He reminded his listeners though that the show is indeed fictional: "It's a drama, so it's going to be made to be a bit of a drama."
Prince William has never been a fan, though.
Apparently, Prince William isn’t down to watch The Crown. Olivia Colman, who plays the Queen in seasons three and four, said she straight-up asked the prince if he watched it. She later recapped the whole interaction on The Graham Norton Show. "I met Prince William at a dinner and he asked what I was doing at the moment before he quickly added, 'Actually, I know what you're doing.' I was so excited and asked, 'Have you watched it?' His answer was a firm, 'No.' But he was very charming and very lovely," she said.
And, according to alleged friends of Prince Charles who spoke to The Daily Mail about Prince William’s thoughts on season four, "The Duke of Cambridge is none too pleased with it. He feels that both his parents are being exploited and being presented in a false, simplistic way to make money."
Meanwhile, Prince Harry has tuned into previous seasons.
This, according to Angela Levin, author of Harry: A Biography of a Prince, who shared a story from two years ago via The DailyMail.
"When I met Harry at Kensington Palace the first question he asked me was, 'Are you watching The Crown?' I mumbled and said, 'Are you and the rest of the Royal Family?'," she recalled. "He said, 'Yes, we're all absolutely watching everything but I'm going to insist it stops before it reaches me.'"
As for season four, Harry is definitely aware of its existence but likely won't tune in. "Harry has seen the trailers for series four, but I can’t see him watching it," a source close to the Duke told Vanity Fair.
Another source told the publication that, "The feeling is that the latest series would actually be quite sad for them to watch."
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